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The pregnant patient perspective - The Practice Growth Podcast

Feedback is critical to understand how your patients perceive you and your practice. In this episode, a real patient shares her experiences with her OB-GYN leading up to the birth of her daughter.

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The Practice Growth Podcast is an educational resource for doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers about how to market and manage a thriving healthcare practice.

In the season 1 finale episode, host Lisa Christy is joined by Hannah Moradi, PatientPop digital marketing manager, who was eight months pregnant with her first child at the time of recording. The pair discuss Moradi’s experiences with her OB-GYN. Click below to listen.

Find new episodes of The Practice Growth Podcast every other week on the PatientPop blog, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or follow us on Spotify.

Lisa Christy: A pregnant woman will visit her OB about 16 times in nine months, if she carries to full term, according to WebMD. This scenario assumes mom and baby are healthy; risk factors or complications mean more appointments and sometimes even more doctors.

Expecting parents are arguably the best patients to ask for feedback about a practice, because they are in and out of the office so much. They encounter the good and the bad — and they often have a lot to say about their experiences.

In the season 1 finale episode of The Practice Growth Podcast, we hear from one expectant mother about her real experiences with her OB-GYN leading up to the birth of her daughter.

Hello and welcome to The Practice Growth Podcast, the doctor’s resource for marketing and managing a thriving healthcare practice. I’m Lisa Christy.

No matter your specialty, feedback is critical to understand how your patients perceive you and your practice. When you actively collect feedback — and really take to heart what your patients are saying — you can better satisfy your patients, attract new patients, and improve your business overall.

Today, we’re chatting with my friend and fellow PatientPop employee Hannah Moradi about her experiences at the doctor’s office. Her visits are really adding up, because Hannah is eight months pregnant with her first child.

Hannah, thank you for being here. I’m really excited to hear your insight on this topic. Let me just start by asking you, did you have to search for an OB when you discovered that you were pregnant?

Hannah Moradi: Over the years, I’ve had a few OB-GYNs that I’ve been to, but it was mainly just for the routine yearly checkups and things like that. Once I found out I was pregnant, it became really important to me to find somebody I really trusted and felt comfortable with.

So, first I went and asked some friends if they had any referrals or recommendations, and a couple had given me some names. I took that and did some online research and found people I thought were qualified and I liked their overall presence online, who they spoke to. I made some appointments that way.

Check out: Is word-of-mouth the best medical marketing tactic?

Once I found my OB-GYN… I really chose her from my initial meeting. I felt really comfortable with her, and I felt like she was really well informed. She had great experience, and I just walked away feeling really confident and comfortable. That’s how I ended up going with her.

Christy: You said there were several people that you checked out. Did you go to visit several different OBs?

Moradi: I made three appointments. I’m doing initial interviews with them. I thought that was maybe outside of the norm, but I just felt like having a baby is a really important step in your life, and you want to make sure that you picked the right person to go along on that journey with.

Christy: You said that you think your OB is really personable, really well experienced, but let’s talk a little bit about your experience at the practice.

First, tell me what is it like to schedule an appointment with your OB? Is it easy? Difficult? Do you wish that anything would be different with it?

Moradi: It’s been relatively easy. My initial appointment I made over the phone, and I did realize that she had a bit of a wait, so I know that she is in-demand.

After that initial setting of the appointment over the phone, everything has mostly been in person. Once I finish up with an appointment, she has an area that you walk to and you schedule all your follow-ups there, which makes it really easy.

Then once I leave, by the time I get to my car, I have a confirmation text message that gets sent to me, and then I also get a reminder the day before and the day of from her. That’s a nice touch to have.

What I do wish they had was online scheduling, because there has been one time that I just couldn’t… something happened with work, and I had to reschedule. I work the same hours as the office is open, so the whole 9-to-5 makes it difficult to find a time to pick up the phone and call to make that appointment. So I do wish you had that online option, but other than that, it’s pretty straightforward to make an appointment with her.

Related podcast episode: What patients want, online scheduling edition

Christy: I think that’s pretty common with a lot of patients, where they work the same hours the office is open, and then when they are available to call, it’s usually during the lunch hour when everyone is trying to call. So it can be a little tough. So that definitely makes sense.

What about your experiences in your OB’s waiting room? Have you had any really long waits? Seeing as you are quite pregnant now — we’re at eight months — is the furniture comfortable? Is anything comfortable for you at this moment?

Moradi: The overall environment is a really good one. You see tons of pregnant women in there, and everybody is super friendly. They have parenting books and magazines, and they even have some of their favorite photographer books in there, so you can go through and peek at all of the work that they’ve done with the patients. I’ve written some names down, because that’s a pretty cute touch to have in there.

I’m usually only waiting maybe 10 minutes at most for an appointment. I have been late before — 15, 20 minutes — and they made me wait maybe an extra 5 minutes from that to catch up on another patient. But other than that, they’re pretty timely, pretty friendly. I really do like that.

I usually get seen by the same nurse when I’m there. Her name is Theresa, and she knows me by name, and she smiles and says my name every time. It’s a nice touch to how you feel overall that you get pretty good service from the office staff at the practice.

Everybody’s super friendly; I never feel rushed; I always feel like they take the time to answer all my questions. Even with the nurses, I feel like they’re all really well-informed, and I know exactly what to do when I’m there and when to do it.

I’m never left in the room questioning if somebody is on their way — that’s happened in the past with other doctors. Overall, it’s a really nice experience.

Christy: I think we’ve all been sitting in the gown in the doctor’s examination room just waiting for someone to come and half an hour goes by. So that’s good that you haven’t really experienced that at this practice.

What about time you spend with the doctor? Do you think that she takes the time to listen and to thoroughly answer all of your questions?

Moradi: I do. Like I mentioned before, I like to be really well informed, and I don’t think there’s been one appointment I’ve had that I don’t have a list of questions.

When you’re pregnant, every month there’s something new that’s happening to your body, and you’re not really sure if that’s the norm. Always if you go online and try to look it up, it gives you another laundry list of things that could be wrong with your body, which isn’t always the best. I always write it down to make sure I go over it with her, and I never feel like she is disregarding or thinking my questions are too crazy to ask.

She does take her time with me, and she answers everything, and it makes me feel at ease.

Christy: Sometimes patients will go to Dr. Google, as we say, to like look up their symptoms, and then when they discuss it with a practitioner, they sometimes feel that the practitioner is really dismissive of them. It’s really great to hear that she’s actually very attentive, and she’s willing to answer all of your questions very thoroughly.

You mentioned communication a little bit earlier in our conversation, when you were talking about how you had scheduled appointment and they would send a text confirming the appointment. Would you say that, other than that, the practice does a really good job communicating with you? Why or why not?

Learn about: PatientPop appointment confirmations and reminders

Moradi: I think they do a really good job communicating with me. For every appointment, I know exactly what’s going to happen before that appointment, before I’m putting a gown on, before I’m getting an exam, or before I’m getting an ultrasound. I know what’s coming.

And I know, when I’m leaving the appointment, what to expect on my next appointment. That’s really nice because my husband also works full time. So if it’s a routine appointment where they’re just doing some outer measurements or just listening to the heartbeat — those are all really important doctor visits — but there are other ones where we’re getting an ultrasound or some ones that are a little bit more special than others. I can be aware of what’s going to happen, and they’re communicating that back to me, and I can have him be there.

Christy: For example, the appointment where you find out the sex of your baby, you know that’s one that you want him to be there. But if they’re just giving you measurements, you don’t necessarily need him.

Moradi: Exactly.

Look: The 6 best communication channels to drive patient retention

Christy: Has there ever been a time when the practice really exceeded your expectations?

Moradi: I had a little bit of a scare at the beginning of my pregnancy, and they did go above and beyond to make sure that I felt comfortable in getting some possible bad news.

I had one appointment that didn’t go so well, and it just happened to be because of timing; I went in a little too early for something. I was terrified, of course. She reached out to me two times throughout the week that I had to wait until I came and again just to reassure me that everything could be fine, not to think about it too much. I thought that was a really nice touch, and she really didn’t even need to do that, but I felt like she went above and beyond with that.

Christy: What about the other side of the coin? Was there ever a time that they didn’t quite meet your expectations?

Moradi: There’s nothing that comes to mind.

Christy: That’s great! What about at another doctor? Can think of a time when you were disappointed by the service you got or the care you received?

Moradi: Oh, definitely. I’ve had multiple times where I thought I was going in to see the doctor, but I saw a nurse practitioner or a saw an assistant or saw some other doctor. That, to me, isn’t a huge deal, but it is a little bit of a disappointment when you’re expecting to see somebody and you have questions for that person and it’s not the person that you’re there to see.

Christy: Definitely. And especially if you went through the trouble of checking out that person online before you went. You might not know the qualifications of the person that you’re seeing.

Moradi: Exactly. I think the doctor-patient relationship is supposed to be built on trust, and I feel like that really was misleading.

Christy: One thing that I’ve experienced when I’ve gone to the doctor is surprise bills. The thing that always irks me the most is they’ll say, “Hey, we’re doing this test,” but they won’t tell me the test isn’t covered by my insurance and I’m going to get a bill. Is that something that you’ve run into at all, either at this practice or another practice?

Moradi: I’ve had some crazy bills. One time [another practice] just didn’t submit some information in a timely matter, and I had to jump through hoops and figure it out with my insurance. A bill that was a couple of hundred dollars actually ended up being under $20, but I had to go out of my way to fix that. I think that could have been prevented.

At this office, I know almost everything I am going to have to pay for. They give me a little printout of what’s to be expected, and they also… let me know, “You’re going to get a bill from insurance, and it’s going to look like this, but just know after we submit this for payment, the bill will come down to this.” I usually have to sign a piece of paper that shows what that bill will end up looking like. It’s all really out in the open and transparent.

Christy: That’s nice. That sounds really detailed. Obviously, we’re having conversation about all feedback on this practice. Has the practice itself asked you to provide any feedback?

Moradi: She hasn’t really, which I’m kind of surprised because, on her website, she has a lot of great reviews. But she hasn’t asked me personally.

Christy: And have you gone above and beyond and done it on your own?

Moradi: I haven’t.

Christy: So it sounds like that could be a missed opportunity for this practice, because you have lots of glowing things to say about them and their service and their care.

Moradi: Yeah, definitely.

Christy: Well, if you could give your OB practice one piece of feedback right now — constructive, positive, whatever you want — what would that one piece of feedback be?

Moradi: To keep doing what they’re doing. My doctor is so kind, and she doesn’t ever make me feel like I’m wasting her time. I’ve brought in — I thought too many people — to one of my ultrasound appointments. I had a best friend, a husband, a mom, a stepdad all in the same room just excited to see this picture of our baby, and she didn’t even bat an eye.

So just keep being the amazing, wonderful physician that she is. I feel like she’s more than just a doctor. She really does care about her patients, so I think just keep doing what she’s doing

Christy: That’s great. Well, Hannah, many congratulations on this baby who will be with us in about a month, right?

Moradi: Yes, four weeks.

Christy: Oh boy. Very exciting. Many congratulations. I know that everyone here at PatientPop is very excited to meet the little miss. And thank you so much for sharing this feedback with us today.

Moradi: Thanks for having me.

Christy: Before we leave you today, I wanted to give you two quick updates.

First is an update on Hannah and her daughter. Olivia Josephine was born early on October 3, 2018. She weighed 7 pounds and 7 ounces. Mom and baby are both happy and healthy.

I also wanted to remind you that this episode is the last of season 1 of The Practice Growth Podcast. The team will regroup and set to work on season 2 in the new year.

To make sure you don’t miss any new episodes, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or follow us in Spotify. You can also check the PatientPop blog, where we publish all episodes and their transcripts.

On behalf of the entire team, thank you for a great first season. Talk to you again soon.

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